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A MAN who spray-painted swastikas around the city and set fire to buildings including a school and a church over the course of a month has pleaded guilty to all charges.

Austin Ross, 23, of Romney Close in Newport, pleaded guilty to 15 counts in total at a brief hearing in Cardiff Crown Court today.

The charges relate to a series of swastikas and racially aggravated graffiti and two arson attacks in Newport between May 2 and May 31 this year.

Two swastikas appeared on a wall and post at the University of South Wales building in Newport city centre during the late May bank holiday weekend.

Alongside one of the swastikas was a message apparently written in support of far right activist Tommy Robinson, real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, who co-founded the English Defence League.

Today, Ross admitted nine counts of causing racially aggravated damage to property.

He owned up to damaging the windows of the Riverfront Theatre in the city centre on May 3, the front door of the Bethel Baptist Church in Bassaleg and a school sign belonging to Maindee Primary School on May 4, as well as a footbridge belonging to Newport City Council on May 5.

Ross also targeted Maindee Primary school a second time on May 28, the Gwent Probation Service building on Lower Dock Street between May 27 and May 31, the University of South Wales Newport campus and the walls of the Masonic Hall on May 28.

Four other counts of racially aggravated harassment, alarm or distress were admitted by Ross between May 2 and May 5.

The charges read out in court noted his actions were based on the membership or perceived membership of a particular racial group.

He also admitted two counts of arson, setting fire to the front doors and hallway of the Masonic Hall in Lower Dock Street on May 28 and destroying a classroom at Bassaleg secondary school on May 29.

Judge Eleri Rees, addressing Ross’ legal representative Harry Baker, warned that the defendant was “not helping himself” by refusing to cooperate, and added she would order a psychiatric assessment before sentencing.

“A more sinister interpretation can be put on his behaviour because he has not explained his actions,” said Judge Rees.

“It does make it difficult for anybody to second guess that there might be a background that could help explain this.

“He doesn’t help himself in that way.

“I’m going to order a psychiatric assessment and we will set up a time table for sentencing.”

Addressing the defendant, Judge Rees added: “I would encourage you to try to cooperate and reflect upon what could be of assistance to you.”

Ross will now appear in court on August 21 for sentencing.

South Wales Argus.


A BRITISH National Party member has been jailed for five years for a string of racist attacks on Asian families in a year-long terror campaign.

Former Territorial Army soldier Terry Collins, 27, who was a sheet metal worker for Hotchkiss Ductwork, on Station Road Industrial Estate, Hailsham, hurled fireworks through letterboxes of his victims’ homes and smashed their windows with stones.

He also used a hammer to smash their car windows and a Stanley knife to slash their tyres, causing more than 4,000 worth of damage and forcing one family to flee their home.

Collins, who targeted Asian families living near him in Seaside, repeatedly sent take-always to his victims’ homes to ‘wind them up.’

Police launched an operation the size of a murder inquiry and made more than 600 house-to-house inquiries in a bid to catch him.

Officers who were lying in wait outside the Royal Parade home of one of Collins’ targets eventually caught him red-handed as he threw a lump of concrete through the window.

Following his arrest in possession of a lock-knife, officers found fireworks and paint in Collins flat identical to those used in the attacks.

They also found bullets which he stole from the army and a BNP magazine and three medium-sized pebbles in his car.

Lewes Crown Court heard how he had told a colleague: “Vote for BNP. Blair is too soft.’

Prosecutor Stephen Shay told the court, ‘Between September, 2003, and November, 2004, three ethnic minority families in Eastbourne were subjected to a series of racially-motivated crimes.

‘These crimes mainly but not always involved criminal damage. From the outset the motive for the offences was extreme right wing political views that he held.

‘In the most serious incident, shortly after midnight on March 27, 2004, Ali Rostam heard shattering glass downstairs at his home in Eshton Road where he lives with his three children. He was upstairs in bed.

‘When he went to inspect he could smell burning coming from the hallway and was aware of his house filling with smoke.

‘The porch carpet was burning and a large brick with a firework attached was on the floor alongside the shattered glass.

‘Mr Rostam was able to put the fire out by stamping on the carpet. His family were understandable deeply distressed by this incident.

‘Afterwards they were re-housed and there were no further attacks on the property.’

The court heard how he also also attacked the homes and cars of newsagent Praful Patel in Seaside and Ajmul Owasil in Royal Parade.

Sheet metal worker Collins, of Eshton Road, pleaded guilty to arson and racially-aggravated harassment and criminal damage.

He also admitted possession of ammunition and a bladed article and asked for 11 further offences or racially-aggravated criminal damage to be taken into account.

He was questioned for five days and told police in interview he never intended to hurt anyone and only wanted to intimidate his victims.

He said he was driven to his victims’ homes by an accomplice he refused to name and was drunk when he committed the offences.

He said he attacked his victims’ property because he thought they were asylum seekers and immigrants.

The court heard he has a previous conviction for a drunken assault on one of his victims, Mr Patel.

Julian Dale, defending, told the court Collins joined the BNP two years ago after he and a friend were attacked by an gang of youths from an ethnic minority in Manchester.

He said, ‘That appears to have been the spur which put him in the sphere of the BNP. He was specifically targeted by one or two very forceful and extreme individuals.

‘He was subjected to a brain-washing process and was exposed to extreme far right propaganda and extremely far right documentaries.

‘Pressure was put on him to participate in these offences and even more extreme offences but he did not do so.

‘It was only once he was arrested that he had a chance to reflect and realise just how far he had slipped under the influence of certain individuals and how disgraceful he had behaved.

‘He has shown considerable remorse and has sought to make apologies through the officers in the case to the families he has distressed so much.

‘He has completely turned his back on both individuals and the organisations that led him to commit these crimes. He does not pose a continuing risk.”

Afterwards, Farida Owasil, 33, told how she came under attack at the home she shares with husband Ajmul, 43, daughter Salwa, aged six and son Ashraf, aged two.

The first attack came when a rock came through their living room window and they went outside the house to find their car had been vandalised.

After the first incident the couple’s home was targeted by Collins for repeated attacks.

Farida said, ‘We have no idea why he has picked us. We do not know him and can only presume that he saw us go in and out of our house.

‘We were just watching television when we heard the whole of the window pane smash. Our car was also attacked. Two tyres were slashed, the side mirror was broken and it was spray painted.

‘We were attacked about another six or seven times. He would always strike at around midnight.’

Farida shares the home with her brother-in-law Ahmed, 48, his wife Dawn, 44, and the couple’s two children. The four adults in the house run a nearby nursing home.

She said, ‘By the end of this we were not comfortable living in the house. It really put us in fear not knowing what was going to happen next.

‘The attacks were getting worse and worse. He is a dangerous man.

‘You feel you are being targeted because of the colour of your skin. We have lived in Eastbourne for 15 years and never had a problem with racism before.’

Mr Patel, 55, and wife Minaxi, 50, also came under attack at their shop and four-bedroom home.

Fireworks were hurled through the home they share with son Bhavik, 9, and daughters Bhumika, 24, Hena, 22, and Herkia, 20.

Their car and house windows were also smashed and tyres.

Mrs Patel said, ‘He made my family’s lives hell. Every night my son wakes up and comes into my room because he fears this man is going to kill us.

‘I fear it as well because the police told us he had live ammunition. I think his intention was to kill us. He could have blown us up.

‘If he comes out is he going to do the same? He is a danger to the public. I still have nightmares because I hear a noise and I think he is back again. It gave us peace of mind when he was arrested. My neighbours didn’t like what was happening. They were really annoyed because we are nice people.’

Bhavik said, ‘It upset me because all my stuff is by the window and I was cold with the window broken. Nobody else is going to bang the window now. Sometimes I can’t sleep at night because of the noise. I often sleep downstairs.’

Eastbourne Herald

From 2005.

A man who pulled a niqab off a woman’s face and called her a “stupid” Muslim has been jailed for 15 months.

Peter Scotter shouted “You are in our country now” when he attacked his victim, who was with her young son, at a Sunderland shopping centre last July.

The 56-year-old, of Beach Street, Roker, had admitted racially aggravated assault by beating and racially aggravated harassment.

He was sentenced at Newcastle Crown Court.

The judge said it was “appalling abusive behaviour grounded in religious bigotry”.

At an earlier hearing, the court was told the victim, 29, was standing outside the Bridges shopping centre when Scotter grabbed her veil and almost threw her to the ground.

After his arrest, he said: “She could have been a bomber.”

His victim was left feeling as if she could not go out, prosecutor Laura Lax said.

Tony Hawks, defending, said Scotter had recently been diagnosed with a cancerous tumour under his tongue and was due to undergo surgery.

He had 66 previous convictions, including actual bodily harm and racially aggravated criminal damage.
BBC News

Court hears Peter Scotter yelled ‘you’re in our country now’ at victim, who was in shopping centre with nine-year-old son

 Peter Scotter gesturing to the media outside Newcastle crown court. Photograph: Nigel Roddis/PA


Peter Scotter gesturing to the media outside Newcastle crown court. Photograph: Nigel Roddis/PA

A man has admitted pulling a niqab off a woman in a shopping centre and yelling racist abuse at her.

Peter Scotter, 55, of Roker, Sunderland, appeared at Newcastle crown court to admit racially aggravated assault by beating and a separate charge of racially aggravated harassment.

Both offences were based on Scotter’s hostility towards a particular religious group, namely Islam, the court heard.

Tony Hawks, defending, said Scotter had been diagnosed with a serious cancerous tumour under his tongue last week and was due to have an operation next Monday. “I have seen some documentation showing that the diagnosis is pretty bad,” the barrister said.

The judge, Stephen Earl, said he would sentence Scotter later, once he had heard more details about the diagnosis. The judge said: “This is a custodial-band sentence, given his record and the nature of his actions.”

A previous hearing at Sunderland magistrates court heard how Scotter left his victim terrified when he attacked her in July.

Laura Lax, prosecuting, told the hearing the woman was waiting with her nine-year-old son for her husband outside a store in Bridges shopping centre in Sunderland when a man “purposefully” walked towards her and grabbed her niqab.

The force he used almost threw her to the ground and the niqab came away from her face, exposing her and causing pain to her neck.

She remembered being scared but was so shocked she could not remember what was said, magistrates were told. The niqab was damaged, but she has since repaired it.

Lax told the court the victim said afterwards: “This incident has left me scared to go out and I don’t want to go into town again. I am disgusted my nine-year-old son had to witness this.”

Another witness heard Scotter shout: “Here, take that fucking off, you are in our country now, you stupid fucking Muslim.”

When a police officer arrived, Scotter was being spoken to by a security guard and the defendant tried to walk away.

Scotter was heard to say: “Our Britain, you live by our fucking rules,” before coming out with more racist abuse.

He continued to make derogatory comments when he was interviewed after his arrest, Lax said.

When he attended previous hearings about the niqab offence, Scotter made a middle finger gesture to photographers outside court.

He has 66 previous convictions for 157 offences, including actual bodily harm, breaching a football banning order and racially aggravated criminal damage.

Scotter had been due to stand trial for the niqab offences next month.

The judge told Scotter he would be sentenced in three weeks’ time and granted him conditional bail.

As Scotter left court, he declined to answer why he was covering his face with a scarf and gestured defiantly to waiting photographers.

The Guardian

Three protesters were racially abused at a ‘Unite Against Fascism’ march.

Tony Hyam, 48, screamed ‘You bunch of n**** lovers’ at the protesters in Villiers Street, central London.

Hyam also screamed ‘Refugees are not welcome’ at the three women, Westminster Magistrates Court heard.

Speakers at the event included Diane Abbott MP, poet Michael Rosen and comedian Jeremy Hardy.

Kate Shilton, prosecuting, said: ‘On March 19 a group of people were attending a Unite Against Fascism rally.

‘As the three victims, Jasmine Jackin, Zlatka Jakin, and Nadia Jackin turned onto Villiers Road, the defendant began shouting abuse and racial slurs towards the group.

‘He called them a “bunch of n**** lovers”, “dirty n*****” and shouted “refugees are not welcome here”.

Ms Shilton told the court the victims had been profoundly affected by the harassment.

Reading a statement from Zlatka Jackin, the mother of the two other victims, she said: ‘I now realise some people still regard others as a lower class or lower race.

‘It made me very upset.’

Hyam admitted using threatening or abusive words, one count of racially aggravated harassment.

Judge Joanna Matson adjourned the case for reports before sentence on September 15 at Westminster Magistrates Court.

Hyam, of Shearwood Crescent, Bexley, pleaded guilty to one count of threatening behaviour and one of racially aggravated harassment.

Court News

The man who set up the English Defence League’s (EDL) Newark division has been sentenced to community service for racially-aggravated offences.

Chris Conroy, 26, of Yorke Drive, Newark, pleaded guilty to causing racially-aggravated harassment, alarm or distress to Mr Eyup Sepet.

He also admitted the racially-aggravated criminal damage of a glass pane in the front door of Mr Sepet’s property in Newark.

The offences were part of the same incident.

Conroy had denied both charges, but changed his pleas to guilty.

He was sentenced at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court to a 12-month supervision order, which includes 200 hours of community service.

He was also ordered to pay Mr Sepet £100 compensation for the harassment offence and £395.42 for the damage to the door, plus court costs of £560.

Conroy set up the Newark Division of the EDL in 2011 and helped organise a number of demonstrations across the country, which he attended. He told the Advertiser at the time it was “patriotism, not racism.”

Conroy told the Advertiser after the hearing that he was no longer connected to the EDL and had left the organisation. He said he did not want to comment on the court case.

Speaking after the case, Inspector Louise Clarke, of Newark Police, said: “The police treat behaviour such as that displayed in this incident as wholly unacceptable. We use the additional powers available to police for hate crime, such as this charge for racially aggravated criminal damage, to allow the courts to recognise the severity of the offence and deal with it appropriately.

“Anyone who works or lives within the Newark area should be able to do so without prejudice or fear, or have to suffer this type of behaviour.

“We take all incidents of this nature seriously and encourage the reporting of such behaviour to us for investigation.”

Newark Advertiser

David Sadgrove, 61, shouted “you are a terrorist” at Mrs Saltana, who was with her two-year-old child, in November last year

A Woking man has been fined more than £350 for shouting ‘you are a terrorist’ at a Muslim woman in the wake of the Paris attacks.

David Sadgrove, of Courtenay Road, pleaded guilty to two counts of racially aggravated harassment at a hearing at Guildford Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday (January 19).

The 61-year-old man was arrested on November 15 after he asked Zamurd Saltana to move her car, which was parked on the pavement near his home, and became abusive.

Mrs Saltana was visiting someone in the street and had a two-year-old child with her.

Prosecuting, Johnson Shittu said: “She had just parked her car on Courtney Road when Mr Sadgrove had approached her and he asked her if she was a Muslim and if she was religious.

“He started to become abusive and aggressive.”

Mr Shittu said Sadgrove had sworn at Mrs Sultana and said: “‘You have killed so many people in Paris’”.

“It was clearly petrifying,” he said.

The court heard that two other men heard the noise as Sadgrove continued to shout: “You are a terrorist, you are going to blow someone up.”

Defending Sadgrove, Trudi Levico said the attacks in Paris provided context to the offence and that the defendant had a ‘myriad of problems’, caused by chronic arthritis in his hip and knee and was aided by a walking stick.

“He was on the pavement and he couldn’t get past those vehicles,” Mrs Levico said.

“He says he starts a relatively civil conversation about moving it.

“He has had problems on that stretch of the road before, it must be one whereby vehicles in order to free the road up park on the pavement.”

Once Sadgrove became abusive, two men living in the street came outside, including Parvaiz Mohammad, who Sadgrove also verbally abused.

Mrs Levico argued that Mrs Sultana did not state she was ‘petrified’.

“She says in her statement that when the two males come out he makes various comments to them,” she said.

“One of the males said to him to ‘try it’ and see what they would do to him.

“She told them to not talk to the English man like that.

“[The statement] said, ‘he was an old man and he looks ill to me’”.

The bench heard that Sadgrove had previous convictions in 2011 and 2003 but did not have a ‘pattern’ of offending.

He is a recipient of the disability living allowance and other benefits while waiting for an operation and was deemed ‘unfit’ for unpaid work for the offence.

Sentencing Sadgrove to a fine of £382, chair of the bench Mrs Lesley Shanks said the racial element to his offence had increased his debt.

“You were swearing and those offences did happen in front of a two-year-old child,” she said.

Sadgrove was fined £200 for the first offence and £75 for the second.

He was also ordered to pay £87 in costs and a £20 victim surcharge.

Get Surrey

David Sadgrove